President suspends independence declaration to give time for talks

Carles Puigdemont addresses Catalan Parliament but proposes putting off declaring secession to find negotiated solution

The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, before starting his speech
The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, before starting his speech / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 10, 2017 08:11 PM

President Carles Puigdemont drew short of formally declaring the independence of Catalonia on Tuesday in the Catalan Parliament. Despite great expectation in the media that Puigdemont could declare independence on the back of the October 1 referendum results, he instead proposed putting the effects of independence on hold for a few weeks in order to allow time for dialogue.

Puidgemont began his address saying "I am aware that today I appear before the people of Catalonia." In fact, some thousands of people had gathered near the Catalan Parliament building to follow Puigdemont’s appearance on large screens. "Do not expect threats or blackmail or insults from my appearance," said Puigdemont, in a speech designed to dampen tensions. "We will never agree on everything but we do understand that the way forward can be no other than that of democracy and peace," he added.

Yet, Puigdemont’s appearance in the Catalan Parliament was to officially present the results of the referendum, and he said that with the vote on October 1, “Catalonia has earned the respect owing to an independent state." However, he also pointed out that "there is democracy beyond the Constitution," and hoped there was still time for a negotiated solution. In fact, Puigdemont said that the temporary suspension of the declaration was a “gesture of generosity” from the Catalan people.